This is the danger of today’s digital jukebox: If every jukebox offers essentially infinite choices we run the risk of homogenizing the location music experience (or at least turning the place into some dork’s personal slumber party). Personally, I don’t want someone to be able to play The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” at my favorite watering hole, just like I don’t want to go eat at a Chili’s when I visit Chicago. Homogenization has contributed greatly to the death of terrestrial radio, pushing radio fans toward streaming or satellite and Internet stations in search of variety and a bolder editorial voice. The same thing could happen to jukebox music.
The jukebox has traditionally made a statement about the location. Walking into a joint and finding a lot of Gretchen Wilson and Rascal Flatts on the jukebox is very different from finding the juke packed with show tunes. A good location is a community, and I think a jukebox that’s all things to all people runs counter to that notion. It’s nice to be able to play the Replacements and Wilco at any place I want, but when I find great music waiting for me on the record machine (45s or CDs), that place feels like home.